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Congressional District # 08


EPA ID# OHD074727793
Last Updated: January, 2012

Site Description

The ten-acre Chem-Dyne site operated as an industrial chemical waste transfer, disposal, and storage facility located in the city of Hamilton. Hamilton has a population of approximately 87,000. A residential area is located less than 1,000 feet from the site. Other adjacent land uses include a recreational park and industrial facilities. Chemical wastes may have been trucked to the site beginning in 1974. In 1975, Spray-Dyne produced anti-freeze from recycled chemical wastes. The operation was expanded in 1976, and the Chem-Dyne Corporation was formed. Wastes that were unsuitable for recycling were stored in drums and tanks on the site or shipped to other disposal sites. More than 30,000 drums of waste and 300,000 gallons of bulk waste materials were left on site when operations ended in 1980. During its operation, a number of environmental incidents were reported at the site. From 1976 to 1979, at least five fish kills in the Great Miami River were attributable to the Chem-Dyne facility; one fish kill stretched for thirty-seven miles. Fires occurred at the site in 1976 and 1979. A storm sewer drained the site into the Ford Canal, which flows into the Great Miami River. The Ford Canal is used only for drainage and hydroelectric power generation. The Great Miami River is used for recreation. Water supplies in the area rely on groundwater as their source.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible parties' actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals, however no drinking water supplies have been affected. Soil was contaminated with VOCs, pesticides, other organic compounds, and heavy metals including mercury, arsenic, nickel, and beryllium. The onsite buildings were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls. 

Cleanup Progress

In 1980, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stabilized, removed, and disposed of 17 potentially explosive drums to a treatment facility. Beginning in 1982, EPA removed another 9,000 drums and solidified and removed 200,000 gallons of liquid and solid wastes in 33 storage tanks. Spilled materials were cleaned up and wastewater was treated for disposal. The storm drain in the loading dock area was plugged to prevent the discharge of contaminated waste into Ford Canal. The site was also fenced to prevent site access. In 1985, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) which required the installation of a system to extract the groundwater and treat it by air stripping. The contaminants are further treated with activated carbon before being released into the air. In addition, the buildings on the site were demolished, selected areas of soil were removed, and a synthetic cap with a clay layer was placed over the site. Under a 1985 Consent Decree signed by EPA, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for site contamination, all surface cleanup activities were completed in 1987. The groundwater pump and treatment system has been in operation since 1988, and may continue to operate through 2008 or longer, to meet established cleanup standards. 660 gallons per minute of groundwater were treated through the system during 1999.  Based on influent concentrations of VOCs to the treatment system, nearly 32,000 pounds of VOCs have been removed from the plume during the period of February 1987 through June 2000.  To ensure a continued safe water supply, the State of Ohio is preventing the use of the contaminated aquifer as a source of drinking water. 

On September 2000, a five-year review was completed for the site and determined the the remedy was functioning in accordance with the ROD and remedy goals may be achieved within the next 10 years or longer.  Hence, the five-year review recommends that newer treatment technologies for source emediation be evaluated for the site in order to provide a faster and more cost-effective means of achieving cleanup goals. 
Also, the five-year review recommended the following: 

In 2001, EPA, OEPA, and the PRPs began efforts to evaluate the groundwater model's accuracy, effectiveness, and capabilities.  These efforts continued throughout 2002 and 2003. In 2003, the PRPs submitted a groundwater flow model to EPA and Ohio EPA. The model was approved by both agencies in October 2003.

Beginning in October 2007, the Chem Dyne Trust conducted vertical aquifer sampling and soil gas sampling in the northern portion of the Site and the immediately adjacent, down-gradient Hamilton Power Plant property to the west. Soil gas concentrations beneath the site cap were orders of magnitude higher than off-site so 1 gas concentrations, indicating the presence of on-site source. The onsite vertical aquifer sample location with the highest ground water concentrations was VP-3, located approximately 50 feet northeast of the Ransohoff building. Shallow ground water at VP-3 was non-detect, while intermediate depth ground water contained elevated concentrations of primarily ethylbenzene and xylene compounds. These compounds are either absent or present in minor concentrations at shallow monitoring well MW-15 and intermediate depth extraction wells IE-1 and IE-8. Chlorinated solvents were dominant in intermediate depth onsite ground water north of VP-3, at locations VP-1 and VP-2. These sample locations have the same distribution of chlorinated VOCs as down-gradient monitoring well MW-15 and extraction wells IE-1 and IE-8.

Following the October 2007 residual source investigation, the Trust installed and initiated a soil vapor extraction system (SVE) in the northern portion of the Site in November 2008. The SVE system was successful in removing 955 lbs of VOCs from the unsaturated zone, between the November 11,2008 start-up and March 31, 2009. Following the performance record of the northern SVE system, the Trust expanded its site characterization efforts, and subsequently initiated two more SVE systems In the southern portion of the site in late September 2009. Between system start up and February 24, 2010, the two southern systems have removed a total of 165.32 lbs of VOCs. The SVE mass removal for 2009 exceeded the pump and treat mass removal from the five previous years combined. As of January 12,2010 the cumulative SVE mass removal since start-up has been 1,885 lbs. Currently, SVE mass removal rates are declining, approaching 1 lb per day.

On September 23, 2010, the third five-year review was signed for the Site. The remedy was found to be protective in the short-term. Once all ground water remedial action cleanup goals are achieved and the institutional controls fully Implemented, the remedy should provide long-term protection.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
lolita hill (hill.lolita@epa.gov)
(312) 353-1621

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
susan pastor
(312) 353-1325




Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.


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